Banned Books!

What do these titles have in common? They were some of the most banned books of last year.

The Hate U Give helped sparked the Black Lives Matter Movement, has been on the NY Times best sellers list and inspired a movie. One Texas parent, Anthony Downs, wanted it banned. At a November 6, 2017  school board meeting he stated “I did read some of the pages. I read 13 pages and was very appalled.” He and others had issues with the book's description of drug use and explicit language. However, other books in the school have the same issues and have not been challenged.  

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian Alexie took a character I had nothing in common with and made them relatable. Challenged/banned reasons include “excerpts on masturbation, vulgarity, racism, anti-Christian content,” and “encouraging pornography.”  

And Tango Makes Three  is considered “unsuitable for young children” because of "homosexual overtones.” Which, yes, it has. Two male penguins decide to form a family and a zookeeper found a way for them to have an egg to raise. Family values at its best.

Other books, considered classic or on several school reading lists, have been banned or challenged as well:

How many of us read To Kill a Mockingbird  for school? Some eighth graders in Mississippi were not allowed to. Challenges usually mentioned the book’s strong language, discussion of sexuality, rape, use of the n-word, and is considered generally “immoral.” It is currently on the PBS The Great American Read 100 list.

A Wrinkle in Time  has the distinction of the contradiction of being considered “too Christian,” and others saying it “undermines Christian doctrines by presenting alternative views of good and evil."

Bridge to Terabithia was most commonly banned for references to witchcraft, atheism and swearing. Perhaps Ms. Paterson could make a sailor blush with a well-turned phrase, yet she is a grandmother writing books children want to read.

According to most of the articles I have read,  Are You There God it's Me Margaret  has been considered to be about two things: sex and anti-Christian behavior. Others say it is a young girl with real life happening to her: getting her period, learning about boys and understanding herself.

Did you know that In the Night Kitchen  was on the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009  at Number 24 because people have been “horrified” of the nudity of the boy?

Fallen Angels  is one of the first books I remember reading. I was amazed at this beautifully written story about Vietnam done realistically and respectfully. It has been banned due to profanity, racism, and graphic violence. Hence banned for the point of the book: showing horrors of war and what black-youth were facing and still do face.

September 23 to 29, 2018 was Banned Book Week. I say let's read banned/challenged books year around! Bring to the front of the pack these lists and talk about them! Do not hide them away! And of course, you can find them and other great gems at the Northshire Bookstores!

Jeanette Sessions